Spielberg goes nostalgic in Ready Player One

Steven Spielberg: a director famous for pop-culture hits such as Jaws, E.T and Jurassic Park. Yet in recent years he’s tended to prioritise biopics. This is one of the reasons why Ready Player One has arguably been a hit with fans – it’s a Spielberg movie that returns to his roots.

He returns to the big screen with a bang in the nostalgia-filled Ready Player One, based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 sci-fi novel of the same name. Ready Player One captures the magic and pop-culture feel of classic Spielberg movies and brings us a modern day sci-fi masterpiece. Whether it be main character Parzival (Tye Sheridan) racing the DeLorean through a New York ravaged by King Kong, or Aech (Lena Waithe) stumbling into The Shining’s Room 237, the film is heavy on the 80s pop-culture references.

Whilst the film does capture Spielberg’s infamous movie magic through the film’s nostalgic elements, does it also rely too heavily on it? It is easy to see how this might be an issue, as the film leans on its audience’s knowledge of pop culture; but Spielberg manages to blend this idea of past and present wonderfully. The Oasis (the virtual world of the movie) is accessed through VR headsets, something that has only come about in recent years. This allows younger audiences to relate to the film, though they may have to turn to parents to understand its 80s references.

The film’s story itself is relatively easy to understand. Oasis creator James Halliday (Mark Rylance) has died and left behind a challenge for aspiring gamers; pass his three tasks, obtain his three keys, and the Oasis is yours. Throw in a totalitarian company trying to stop our heroes succeed and you’ve got a solid adventure movie narrative. Ultimately, Spielberg’s film is the perfect film all round: an easy story to follow, references that audiences of all ages will understand, and enough special effects magic to make any Spielberg fanatic week at the knees.



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January 2022
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